Fenerbahçe ends cup drought, dedicates trophy to Yıldırım
Fenerbahçe players celebrate the team’s first Ziraat Turkish Cup victory in almost three decades.Fenerbahçe managed to end the season on a high note after ending its long drought in the Ziraat Turkish Cup.
The Yellow Canaries clinched the Ziraat Turkish Cup with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bursaspor at the 19 Mayıs Stadium in Ankara on May 16. The win meant Fenerbahçe won the domestic cup for the first time since 1983, putting an end to one of the most notorious droughts in Turkish football.
The win also came four days after Fenerbahçe lost the Spor Toto Super League title to archrival Galatasaray.
“We found some morale with ending 30 years of cup drought,” goalkeeper Volkan Demirel said. “I wish we could have made a trophy double but it was not meant to be. I congratulate Galatasaray again, and congratulate Bursaspor. I also congratulate my teammates.”
Fenerbahçe opened the scoring early in the game with winger Caner Erkin putting the ball to the net after getting a pass from Alex de Souza in only the second minute. Captain de Souza provided another assist in the dying seconds of the first half, when he dished out a pass to Cristian Baroni to double the lead for Fenerbahçe.
The Yellow Canaries closed the door in the 58th minute when forward Semih Şentürk struck the ball to the net, again after an assist by de Souza. After three assists, the Brazilian superstar capped a wonderful night for him by getting his name on the score sheet with a point in the 77th minute.
De Souza dedicated the trophy to the club’s jailed Chairman Aziz Yıldırım.
“Our chairman deserves this trophy, and so much more,” he said. “He has been deprived of his liberty for 10 months. It will be one year in two months’ time. I see it as a person from whom one year was stolen. He deserves this trophy more than anyone.”
Fenerbahçe spent the season under the cloud of a match-fixing case, which listed Yıldırım, along with four other club officials, as a top suspect. A total of 93 football club officials, players and coaches from around a dozen Turkish clubs were listed as suspects in the case, which started after the Istanbul police’s allegations that several games were manipulated in last season’s competition, when Fenerbahçe won the title.
Earlier this month, the Turkish Football Federation cleared 14 clubs, including Fenerbahçe, of match-fixing charges, but punished two officials from the club for attempting match-fixing. Yıldırım was also cleared, but he is still jailed pending charges in the criminal case.
“Aziz Yıldırım is the symbol of a troublesome season for the club,” de Souza said. “I think this club deserves better days.”